Interior Minister Bozinovic calls for 'humane and regular' migration

NEWS 02.03.2020 21:04
Source: N1

Croatia's Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, and Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, will travel to the Greek and Bulgarian borders with Turkey on Tuesday, in a show of support for local authorities which are dealing with a new wave of refugees on the borders of the European Union.

Bozinovic and Plenkovic will represent Croatia, which currently holds the rotating six-month Presidency of the EU Council, in a high-level EU delegation comprising the presidents of the European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament.

“It is in our interest for Greece and Bulgaria to endure in their efforts to prevent the arrival of migrants on EU soil. That’s the essential difference from 2015 and 2016, when Greece allowed migrants to travel further into Europe,” Bozinovic told N1 television on Monday.

He added it was important for EU officials to learn first-hand about the migrant wave, to see the recent developments on the Greek-Turkish border, and to support Greece and Bulgaria in protecting the EU’s external border against illegal migration.

EU’s interior ministers will meet in Brussels on Wednesday for an extraordinary meeting on migration.

“No one likes seeing these pictures. Countries on the migration route are not trying to manipulate these people, and they are not their permanent destinations either. This issue should be dealt with in a way which would ensure that migrations are humane and regular. As for illegal migrants, Europe can no longer afford the luxury of letting them all pass as it did in 2015,” Bozinovic told N1 television.

Thousands of Syrian refugees are currently on Turkey’s border with Greece, after the Turkish government said last week it would let them pass towards Europe, saying Turkey had “reached its capacity.”

Turkey’s decision to grant free passage to refugees ends a hastily struck 2016 deal with the European Union to stem the flow of refugees and migrants from the Middle East towards Europe by keeping them in Turkey.

The deal was made after more than a million refugees and migrants had travelled to Europe via the so-called Balkan route in the summer of 2015, which took them from Turkey and Greece across the Balkans, towards Hungary and Slovenia, in order to reach wealthier countries in Western Europe.

Although the deal had reduced the massive influx to a trickle, a new route through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia became popular in recent years for thousands of migrants from the Middle East travelling westward.

Last week’s announcement by Turkey, comes after renewed intense fighting in the Syrian city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, located less than 30 kilometres from the Turkish border, where an airstrike by Russian-backed Syrian forces on Thursday killed 33 Turkish soldiers.